In the aquatic world, Oscar Fish is considered an aggressive pet.
If coupled up with community fish, Oscar kills them or bullies them.
So, you need to be extra careful when picking oscar tank mates.
For instance, keeping a fish that matches the size of an Oscar fish can be an excellent idea in the right direction.
However, with a couple of large size fish, the inside of your home aquarium can turn out to look like a mess.
The key here is to pick a big fish that do not compete with the oscar fish in any way possible.
So, based on the tank size of other tank mates, you would be able to find the right oscar tank mates for your home aquarium.
15 Best Oscar Tank Mates
Firemouth Cichlids are closely related to Convicts, so naturally, they make great Oscar tank mates.
Though they are a little less aggressive, Firemouths grow relatively large (6 inches) and are great at avoiding conflict.
Since Firemouth Cichlids are more prone to flee from an Oscar than fight, I recommend throwing in some rocks or caves to provide adequate hiding spots.
That said, Firemouths will stick up for themselves if they need to.
Fire eels are snake-like fish species commonly kept as pets.
These Southeast Asian animals are freshwater fish with an eel-like appearance.
Their sharp spines produce a mildly toxic slime, which should discourage your Oscar from taking a bite.
The fire eel is a predatory bottom feeder that grows up to 20 inches and needs a significant tank size. Include a thick, sandy substrate in which your fish can dig, floating aquatic plants to dim the light, and large hiding spaces.
The overall size of the fire eel, combined with its protective spines and easy-going nature, makes it a good tank mate for your Oscar.
The Giant Gourami is an excellent choice for a tank mate with Oscars.
They are very fast-growing and can reach 17-27 inches in length.
Living in the middle region of the tank, they will not compete with your Oscars for food or space.
Giant Gouramis are a peaceful species and can be added to your community tank without worrying about them becoming aggressive.
Please ensure you have good filtration and surface access to the water to allow your fish to breathe using their labyrinth organ.
This species eats a mainly vegetable-based diet, so there will not be much competition for food between the two species.
The red parrot, also known as the green severum or by its scientific name, Heros efasciatus, is a hybrid cichlid fish species.
Red parrot’s mouth is deformed, making it difficult for this fish to survive outside of an aquarium.
This particular fish needs a large tank with plenty of swimming room; because of its size, it needs a tank size of at least 50 gallons that is well-filtered and heated to around 78 degrees Fahrenheit.
This hybrid cichlid prefers soft water and likes a pH level between 6.8 and 7.8. Aquarium salt is recommended at a ratio of 1 teaspoon per 5 gallons of water.
The red parrot is a messy eater; therefore, strict adherence to tank cleaning is necessary to keep your fish healthy and thriving.
It will eat both meaty foods such as shrimp and vegetables like lettuce.
They are omnivores and can be fed mostly any high-quality cichlid pellets and live feeders like ghost shrimp or blood worms.
For the most part, the blue acara is a peaceful fish.
It will mostly keep to itself, but it is not aggressive when interacting with other tank mates.
Its most active behavior is to swim around and look for food.
However, during mating season, the blue acara can become territorial and will occasionally butt up against other fish.
In a tank of that size, there should be no problem with this behavior.
The blue acara looks very similar to its cousin, the convicts’ cichlid, but there are distinct differences between the two species.
The acara has a thin black stripe running alongside, while the convict has thick strips and more.
The convict also has more intense coloring than the acara, making it easier to distinguish between the two species.
Black Convict Cichlid
It is possible to keep a small group of Convicts with an Oscar as well, though you’ll need a huge tank.
Again, try to match the size of the fish as best you can.
It is not recommended that you keep a single convict with an Oscar – they will almost definitely end up fighting.
But if you keep things relatively even from the start, there shouldn’t be any significant problems.
Adult Black Convicts are generally more aggressive than Oscars anyway, so it’s good to have them as tank mates if you want some relief from the constant bullying of your other fish.
Many people like to keep a pair of Black Convicts together with an Oscar.
They form a definite hierarchy, with the male Convict at the top and the female at the bottom (the same goes for any pair of fish).
Since both sexes of convicts are aggressive and territorial, it’s not a bad idea to give them their territory in your tank.
You can do this by giving them plenty of rocks and caves to hide in a while, leaving plenty of open space for your Oscar.
Silver Dollars are an excellent addition to any Oscar tank.
Their unique body shape makes them appear large, making them a less likely meal for aggressive Oscars.
They are one of the most famous tank mates for Oscars.
Silver Dollars are best kept in groups of 4 or more.
While they can survive well in groups as small as 3, it’s generally best to keep them in groups of 4+.
This is because they are schooling fish and will be seen swimming together most of the time.
The silver Arowana has excellent vision, seeing in all directions at once.
They have a rather large mouth with an exciting tooth structure, which allows them to ambush their prey.
The shape of the silver Arowana is similar to the oscar. However, their bodies are more compressed laterally, or from side to side, rather than vertically like oscar’s body is.
The silver Arowana’s tail is shaped like a crescent moon, and most of their scales are small and embedded.
It is sometimes called the water monkey because it can leap out of the water and catch prey or jump between trees!
They are one of the largest freshwater fish in South America and can grow up to three feet long.
They can weigh over 15 pounds.
Their fins are usually yellowish-orange or red, but they may also be pale orange or white.
The anal fin has 10 spines on it, while the dorsal fin has 36-42 rays
The Severum Cichlid is a desirable species of cichlid that is easier to care for than some of the other more aggressive types of cichlids like the Oscar.
These fish come in two different coloration patterns: green and gold (pictured).
While they are relatively easy to keep, it’s important to remember that they still need a well-maintained tank.
They will eat smaller fish or invertebrates, so be careful when adding tankmates.
Green Terror Cichlid
The Green Terror, also known as the Blue Acara, is a cichlid that hails South America. In the wild, they are found in the Amazon River basin and imported to the United States for many years.
They are very active fish that needs plenty of space to swim around. If you don’t give them a big enough tank, they will become stressed and even die.
If you are looking for an Oscar tank mate that isn’t shy, this might be your fish. They are aggressive towards other fish and will hold their own against an Oscar.
The Green Terror is exceptionally colorful, with orange and red fins and stripes running down its body.
They grow to be around 8 inches long and require a tank at least 50 gallons in size.
Also, they like temperatures between 72-80°F and a pH of 6-7.5.
Jack Dempsey Cichlid
The Jack Dempsey Cichlid comes from the freshwater rivers of Central America. They are also known as the Blue Dempsey or Octofasciatum.
Jack Dempsey Cichlid is an excellent addition to oscar tank mates as they are equally big and aggressive in nature.
However, once you put an oscar fish and Jack Dempsey Cichlid together, keep an eye out for some time to ensure they aren’t causing any trouble.
Since Bichirs are long, eel-shaped fish, providing them with a long tank is essential.
A minimum of a 50-gallon tank is recommended for adults.
With their large size, Bichirs can be aggressive towards other tank mates and may eat smaller fish, so larger tanks are better to provide adequate space.
Also, Bichirs are some of the best jumpers amongst aquarium fish and will escape open aquariums.
A tight-fitting lid is necessary to keep these fish in the tank.
It is recommended to provide plenty of hiding places within the aquarium to reduce stress.
Plants, driftwood, and rocks serve as great hiding spots as well as helping stimulate their natural environment.
The clown loach (Chromobotia macracanthus) is a familiar oscar tank mates In the aquarium hobby.
It is a large, orange fish with bold black stripes and elongated fins that are easy to care for.
These peaceful fish are commonly kept in community tanks as they get along well with most other species.
Clown loaches require a large tank with an open swimming space, as they can reach up to 12 inches long once fully grown.
Keep in groups of five or more so that they do not become shy and hide all the time.
They are omnivorous, requiring a mix of meaty items and plant matter in their diet to thrive.
The Plecostomus is one of the most famous inhabitants of freshwater aquariums.
These fish are famous for their appetite for algae, and many aquarists purchase them specifically to keep their tank clean.
They are a great addition to any community tank, and when paired with an Oscar, the Pleco can make an excellent cichlid tank mate.
When considering them as Oscar tank mates, there are some crucial factors.
Plecos have sharp spines on their fins, which pose a considerable threat to hungry Oscars.
They will often try to make a meal out of Plecos, only to have the spines lodged in their throat.
This will result in the death of both fish.
The pictus requires very little care compared to other fish.
They are omnivorous and readily accept almost any type of food pellets offered.
Pictus catfish are also more peaceful than some other catfish species and can be kept with an oscar without worrying about aggression issues.
As far as compatibility goes, the pictus is slightly less compatible with water conditions.
While oscar prefers gentle waters, the pictus needs moderate currents.
Things to Avoid When Picking Oscar Tank Mates
If you decide to keep Oscars with other fish, there are a few things to keep in mind.
- Only one Oscar per tank: If you have a large enough tank, you can have multiple Oscars, but it is still not advised. Even when you provide them with plenty of space, they will often bully each other and cause severe damage to each other’s fins.
- Be careful with community fish: Oscars are aggressive fish and territorial towards other species. If they don’t kill the other fish outright, they can often wear them down with relentless bullying.
- Don’t put your tank mates in simultaneously: Oscars only get larger as they age and develop aggressive traits over time. If you want to keep another species with them, add them to your aquarium first and let them settle in before adding your Oscar.
- Provide plenty of hiding spaces for your tank mates: Oscars are sneaky hunters that like to hide until their prey comes into range. To give your tank mates a fighting chance, provide plenty of hiding spots such as floating plants or caves where they can seek refuge from their pursuit.
Despite their reputation, you can give your Oscar a few tank mates.
However, this should be done with caution and only after you’ve had some experience with them!
Additionally, it’s important to understand that any tank mates you pick out will likely become food for your Oscar down the line.
The Oscars aren’t picky eaters.
They are known to eat anything they can fit in their mouths!
For this reason alone, I’ve recommended 15 oscar tank mates that can happily survive in your home aquarium.